Located by the Nhue River, 15km west of Hanoi, the ancient village of Cu Da is famous for its soya sauce and glass noodles. The suburban village has been attracting an increasing number of tourists in recent years, not only for its local specialities, but its traditional houses which reflect both the architectural and cultural values of the northern rural region.
Home to more than 100 wooden houses, the village is a popular tourist attraction for people in search of a glimpse of the past. Most of the tiled houses, which are hundreds of years old, were built from go xoan (bead tree or Chinaberry tree). The houses form a complex in the typical traditional architectural style of the Hong (Red) River Delta region.
A main house includes an ancestral altar, a set of wooden couches and a tea table. In the wings of the house are bedrooms for the owner and his eldest son. The other space is used for the women's living quarters.
The outbuildings are smaller than the main house and used as kitchens and dining rooms, and for storage. The traditional house of Trinh The Sung in Dong Nhan Cat Hamlet is considered the most beautiful and untouched of its kind. Built in 1864, the house consists of 35 wooden pillars, decorated in intricate carvings. With a similar architectural style, the 360m² house of Dinh Van Du in the same hamlet welcomes many visitors. According to the owner, six generations of his family have lived in the 200-year-old house.
The typical architecture of the northern rural area can also be found in the archways leading into the village's 12 hamlets.
The simple beauty of Cu Da together with its traditional houses have been used as the setting for a number of Vietnamese movies and TV series, including the famous Bao Gio Cho Den Thang Muoi (When the Tenth Month Comes), and the recent Leu Chong (Going to Royal Exam).
The village is not only home to traditional houses, but also modern colonial French villas, more than 20 of which can be found across the village.
Among the French villas, the estate of Trinh Thi Hong in Ba Gang Hamlet is considered the most beautiful. The two-storey house still retains almost all of its original features, including flowery motifs, a wrought iron balcony, tiled floors and a wooden staircase that combine to make an intriguing mix of French and Vietnamese styles.